Bittersweet

Their love story had had a clichéd beginning, the usual first sight thing. And now their love story was going to have a clichéd ending too. He was dying.

She sat all by herself in the vinyl chair outside his hospital room.
The doctor had just been around. The others who had been with her, had followed the doctor to his chamber, talking incessantly about things that could still be done.

"Why don't we try that new medicine in market"

"What about further chemotherapy?"

"We think, we'd like a second opinion"

And on and on it went.

He'd contracted one of the most popular diseases of the time. Cancer. All of them could talk and plan and ask, but she knew there was nothing more left to do for him. Just as she knew in her heart that his day was fast coming to an end.

What was she going to do, she thought dully. Follow after him? Or go with him maybe, together. A whole and healthy life was spread ahead in front of her, and she couldn't bear the thought of it.

May be the people she had detested, those who took away their own lives, were after all not the gutless she had judged them to be. And even if they were, she didn't mind belonging to that group of people. At least the pain would be less. But it wasn't an option for her.

Her eyes were painfully dry as she stared unseeingly at the opposite stark, white hospital walls.

He had known. She hadn't. He had secretly braved through the diagnosis and the initial treatment alone. And then he had known there was no hope. His eyes had revealed the end of their story when he had finally told her. No more words had been necessary. She hadn't shed a single tear. It was as if something inside her had shrivelled up and died.

And now she was the one who had to be brave. And alone.

She didn't know how long she had been sitting like that, when she heard Mark call out to her softly, "Clara!"

She broke out of her trance and hurried inside his room.

"Hey! You are awake! The doctor's just been around." She smiled softly into his eyes, laying a hand on his chest, as she went and perched on his bed. "Are you hungry, darling? We can have pizza, if you like, with lots of olives..."

Mark kept smiling faintly, and didn't say anything as she kept talking, ruffling his pillow, fussing with the flowers on his bed-side with her free hand.

"...Or may be you again want me to cook, you always do that! Just because it gives you a chance to laugh at my culinary skills..."

"Clara...", Mark spoke softly.

"...Or may be you want those greasy fries you love so much. Or may be I'll ask your Aunt to do the cooking, everything boiled, it would serve you so right..."

"Clara!", Mark interrupted again, forcefully this time, touching her flushed cheek with his unfettered hand and bringing her babble to an abrupt halt.

"I'm sorry", he said, "I am so very sorry, darling."

She breathed deeply, forgetting that she had to be brave, she turned away her face and nodded, not trusting her voice, afraid of what was in her eyes.

"Look at me, Clara. Look. At. Me."

She looked at that once-handsome face, now gaunt and wasted from the rigorous treatments, but still so beloved, and unconsciously tried to memorize every plane and every line.

"You have a whole life ahead of you, make it beautiful, live it wholly, marry again. Don't shut yourself from the world, love."

She shook her head, not angry but tired.

Mark, however, retorted angrily in his weak voice, "Dammit, Clara! You'll do just as I say. If you can't listen to me, at least, honour a dying man's last request!"

She looked at him, smiling sadly, her eyes full of love, for several endless moments.

"How can I marry again when I still have you? How can you die when you are alive in me?"

Tears spilled over from the corners of his eyes, "Clara..."

Clara shook her head and placed a finger on his lips. She took a deep breath, smiled vibrantly and said, "I have something to tell you."

She lifted his hand, held it next to her heart and then placed it lightly, palms-down on her abdomen.

They looked at each other, in that interminable moment of time, in silence, with increasing wonder, and endless love. And together they started laughing and crying all at once. In joy, this one last time.

Article by Guria who blogs at Maverick Misfit.

comment 1 comments:

Dr. Chandana Shekar on May 24, 2010 at 11:53 AM said...

loved this one girl :)

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